CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 1-week low on Encana slide, European data

Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:44pm EST

* TSX ends down 53.49 points, or 0.42 percent, at 12,721.79
    * Seven of 10 main index sectors decline
    * BlackBerry shares volatile after former co-CEO sells stake
    * Barrick climbs 2.3 percent after results

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell
to a more than one-week low on Thursday as energy stocks
declined after data showed Europe falling deeper into recession,
offsetting a rise in Barrick Gold Corp as investors
found a silver lining in its big quarterly loss.
    Encana Corp, Canada's largest natural gas producer,
plunged 6.6 percent to C$18.20 after it offered a 2013
production target for oil and natural gas liquids that was lower
than expected. It played the biggest role of any stock in
leading the market lower. 
    The market tracked data that showed the German economy
contracted by 0.6 percent in the last three months of 2012, its
worst performance since the global financial crisis was raging
in 2009. The French economy contracted 0.3 percent, a slightly
worse performance than expected. 
    The figures made 2012 the first full year since 1995 in
which no quarter produced economic growth in the euro zone.
    "It's a small hiccup in Europe's longer-term growth picture
... but it does have a short-term impact on the TSX," said
Victor Kuntzevitsky, an associate at Northland Wealth
Management.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended down 53.49 points, or 0.42 percent, at
12,721.79, its lowest closing level since Feb. 4.
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were weaker. 
    The energy sector lost 1.6 percent and played the biggest
role in leading the market lower as oil price moves remained
choppy. 
    Oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc dropped 2.5 percent
to C$31.79 after reporting a fourth-quarter operating loss, and
saying it expects more pressure on costs this year due to higher
power prices. 
    In other individual company news, BlackBerry's 
former co-chief executive, Jim Balsillie, disclosed that he had
sold his once-sizable stake in the embattled smartphone maker.
    Shares of BlackBerry, which launched its make-or-break
BlackBerry 10 smartphone last month, initially slipped on the
news before climbing 7.5 percent to C$15.05. 
    "The stock is more of a speculation than an investment at
this point," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung Investment
Management.  "You're going to see huge volatility in BlackBerry
until it becomes apparent one way or the other whether
(BlackBerry 10) is a success or not."
    The index's materials sector, which includes mining stocks,
gained 0.2 percent, benefiting from earnings results and higher
gold prices. 
    Barrick Gold reported a fourth-quarter loss after booking a
$3.8 billion charge to write down the value of its copper mine
in southern Africa. But shares of the world's biggest gold miner
added 2.3 percent to C$32.44 as profit before special items beat
market expectations. 
    Another big gainer was Kinross Gold Corp, which on
Wednesday reported higher fourth-quarter revenue. The stock
jumped 5.4 percent to C$8.34. 
    Of the more than 20 percent of TSX stocks that have reported
earnings for the quarter, 62 percent have met or beat
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
FILED UNDER: